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Haiti's post-hurricane agriculture looking "very grim," says gov't

Xinhua, October 12, 2016 Adjust font size:

Haiti's Ministry of Agriculture, Natural Resources and Rural Development has painted a "very grim picture of the agricultural sector" in the wake of Hurricane Matthew, a local daily reported on Tuesday.

The category 4 hurricane swept through Haiti last week, destroying hectares of farmland, and pushing the already impoverished country closer to the brink of a humanitarian crisis.

Though southernmost Haiti bore the brunt of the damage, departments as northwards as Artibonite and Northwest lost crops and livestock to flooding.

The southern department of Grand Anse saw 41,000 hectares of cropland affected by the hurricane, according to the ministry's "first partial report," including 30,000 hectares of root crops, 8,000 hectares of coffee and 3,000 hectares of beans, the daily Haiti Libre said.

Also in Grand Anse, "the ministry reported the total destruction of fishing equipment (such as boats and nets) and the loss of about 150,000 goats, 35,000 sheep and 82,000 pigs," the daily said.

The report went on to detail losses across the island, with the total loss of livestock amounting to more than 350,000 heads of cattle, goats, sheep, pigs and other farm animals.

Humanitarian aid and assistance has been pouring in from regional countries, such as Venezuela, Cuba and Bolivia, as well as other countries and international agencies, such as the United Nations.

Oct. 9 presidential elections were postponed in the wake of the disaster.

In the South department, the daily reported, 70 percent of what had been designated voting centers are deemed "unusable" due to hurricane damage.

However, the daily Le Nouvelliste reported on Monday that election officials and political parties appear to have tentatively agreed to reschedule the poll for Oct. 30.

As officials continue to review the damage in different parts of the country, the number of victims also rises, with the latest report from the Civil Protection Directorate (DPC) placing the official death toll at 473.

The actual number of fatalities is closer to one thousand, according to unofficial reports. Enditem